4.6 Strategy Component Motivation

The section on the strategy component Motivation is divided into the areas of

  • Basics: here you will learn the basics of the strategy component and the derivation of the content.
  • Application: here you will learn the derivation by means of an exemplary procedure (method).
  • Exercises: here you practice the derivation on your own example(s). In the coaching package of the online course you will receive feedback, suggestions and criticism on your exercises.

The learning objective of the topic is to

  • Understand motivation as a component of social media strategy.
  • be able to derive the contents of the strategy component from the defined strategy and the contents of other strategy components.

Reading time: approx. 13 minutes

Exercises: Exercises are in the PDF of all exercises of this course. Download it from here.


Definition of the strategy component

The strategy component Motivation defines how motivational structures (of a technical/conceptual nature) and motivational methods are used via content and structures as part of the various social media usage formats.

Significance of the strategy component

strategic importance of the strategy component: Motivation influences the behavior of users. This impacts the outcome of strategies and the use of social media resources. Motivation thus has a double lever for the success of a strategy.

The use of permanently effective motivational structures and motivation through the social context increases the effect of motivation compared to spontaneous, situational motivation and, of course, compared to strategies that do not use motivation purposefully.

Motivation is a competitive element because it can reach and engage users and create competitive advantage along the way. Motivational structures enable structural competitive advantages, content-based motivation enables situational competitive effects.

practical significance of the strategy component: Motivation requires content, conceptual and technical foundations. Motivation as a strategy component thus has an impact on other components of a social media strategy – such as the channels used. Motivation must be lived, cultivated and actively pursued in day-to-day business – through content and structures. Motivation requires a fixed place in the day-to-day work in terms of content and structure, clearly defined responsibility, and defined goals and KPIs to measure them.

Contents of the strategy component

The strategy component Motivation should address at least the following points:

  • Motivation potential and need from the business model, competition and market: Not only the potential that social media holds overall for the three fields, but also quite explicitly the effect that is possible and meaningful through the combination of social media and motivation in these three fields. Only when we know what we can achieve with the lever of motivation in social media for these three fields is a responsible social media strategy possible.
  • Type of motivation: whether we rely on intrinsic or extrinsic motivation, whether we motivate ad hoc / situationally or use sophisticated motivational structures, whether our motivation is social-based or operator-oriented, we define here.
  • Effects on other strategy components: we define here the effects that result from the contents of the strategy component Motivation for other strategy components and the effects of the contents of other strategy components on the strategy component Motivation. Including possible problems that may arise and the solutions for them.
  • Goals of user-level motivation: defining what we specifically want to achieve with user motivation – at the user level in social media. Defined qualitatively, measurably and refined with KPIs.
  • Goals of motivation at the corporate level: this is about the corporate benefit that we want to bring about for the company through motivation. Qualitatively, quantitatively measurable and defined refined with KPIs.
  • Resource requirements for the strategy component: the requirements for human, organizational and technical resources needed to achieve the desired motivational effect. The permanent demand on resources is a topic that is often underestimated.
  • Interactions we should pay special attention to: the strategy components interact with each other and on each other. Viewing the content in isolation is more convenient but not recommended. It is better to check the interactions as far as possible in advance, before we receive unpleasant feedback from the market and the competition and have to take corrective action.


As a strategy component, motivation naturally interacts with other strategy components. The interaction in terms of content is individual. That there is an interaction is due to the nature of strategy. We should pay particular attention to the interactions with the following strategy components when developing the content of the motivation strategy component:

  • Usage formats and motivation: motivation plays a role in all usage formats. This role requires corresponding functions in the design of the usage format, the lack of which reduces the performance of the usage format. If we do without the use of motivation – technically or conceptually – we also reduce the performance potential of the usage format.
  • User benefits: The general motivation to respond positively to our social media strategy is based on the benefits the strategy creates. If we support the effect of the UserBenefit with motivating content and structures, we scale the effect of the UserBenefit according to the effect of the motivation.
  • Participation: user involvement in our social media strategy creates additional resources. If user participation is successfully promoted with motivating content or supported by motivational structures, this promotes participation. If content sharing is the goal of social media user engagement, social-based motivation can lead to exponentially increased sharing.
  • Channels: Motivation requires technical and conceptual foundations that must be feasible in the social media channels used. The performance of social media channels has an impact on the content of the strategy components via the possibilities of using motivation in the channels. In such a case, we are faced with the decision of which strategy component to prioritize – the channel because of its importance to reach or the motivation because of its impact on the success of the strategy.
  • CorporateBenefits: we define how motivation affects corporate benefits and what corporate benefits we bring about.
  • Topics and content and motivation: Motivation is an approach focused on a behavior. We can link topics and content to appropriate motivation for a desired behavior – e.g., to share or engage in it. The better the topics and content match the interests of the recipients and the motivation is focused on a need that is of great importance to the recipients, the more effective the combination of topics and content with motivation will be. If we distribute relevant content and topics, we reach our target groups. If we combine these contents and topics with successful motivation, we achieve a much greater impact.
  • Target groups and motivation: the motivation is based on the interests of the target groups, both in terms of content and structure. If the motivation used does not correspond to these interests, its effect will be reduced or absent.
  • Competition and motivation: Motivation is relevant to success and can therefore bring us advantages in competition – both ad hoc and systematic.


Requirements for the content of the strategy element

The strategy component Motivation should address at least the following points:

  • Sources of motivation needs from business model, affinity, competition and market
  • Motivation type
  • Ways and methods of motivation
  • Requirements for other strategy components
  • Motivation goals – User
  • Motivation goals – company
  • Resource requirements for the strategy component
  • Interactions that we should pay special attention to

Goals of the strategy component

Motivation has the goal of promoting a desired behavior. We therefore first define the behavior we want to promote and then the motivation with which we support this behavior.

We often know desired behavior from the classic forms of participation – sharing, commenting, and liking. So if we want to get users to share more content, we need to design our motivational methods and structures to reward that behavior.

However, we should not limit ourselves to the more present methods of activity but consider the whole spectrum of user activity that is important for the company.

Practice note
The objective of motivation has the logical consequence that we first define participation as a strategy component before we design the strategy component motivation.


As part of this strategy component, we make decisions for the following areas:

  • Motivation methods: here we determine not only whether we use intrinsic or extrinsic motivation but also which concrete measures we use within the respective method and how.
  • Motivation structures: here we define how we motivate, i.e. whether our motivation methods are software-based and automated, whether motivation comes from the operator or from social media users, or a combination of both.
  • Motivation goals: here we define what we motivate for, i.e. what goals we want to support with our motivation. This mostly concerns a desired behavior of social media users.

Work steps

  • Step 1: We define the overall possible motivation methods and motivation structures in our subject areas. As sources of information for this, we use the participation in our social media strategy as well as the corresponding options for action.
  • Step 2: From this, we define the motivation methods and structures that offer us the most advantages in competition and secure our competitive situation in the best possible way – i.e. offer the strongest and most lasting competitive effect. Input for this is provided by the competitive situation via the options for action in competition.
  • Step 3: We then define the motivation method and structure that best meets our business objectives and business benefits, i.e. can contribute the most to them. In doing so, we make sure – where possible – to use motivational methods and structures that provide a supportive social context, i.e., that are fostered by the social environment of the social media users.

Our strategy component Motivation thus includes: Motivation method and motivation structure, as well as the motivation goals and the corresponding motivation measures.


As variables for assessing the contribution to success of this strategy component, we can measure the use and effect of the respective motivational measures by relating desired behavior and motivational measures, for example.

Work Templates

Explanation of the work template and its contents and the ways to get to the contents.


  • Social Media Responsible
  • Market Responsible
  • Person responsible for customer relations

Process result

Preferred motivational structure, methods, goals and measures for social media strategy / strategy alternatives.

Information sources

Strategy component Participation, options for action Motivation, market and competition

Resource requirements of the strategy component

The resource requirements for the strategy component depend largely on the scope and nature of the motivation. We distinguish resource needs into investment needs for building structures and needs for implementing motivational measures.

Investment resources are required primarily when we have to develop and establish conceptual and technological structures. For example, a motivational structure in which users are given awards and status symbols based on their behavior, or which enable users to express appreciation to other users in a simple, generally visible way.

Resource requirements for day-to-day operations may include, for example, manually congratulating users on a desired behavior or motivating them to engage in a desired behavior.

Opportunities and risks Strategy component Motivation

The main opportunities arising from the strategy component of motivation lie in the leverage effect that motivation has on user behavior and in the impact that motivation has on user behavior.

Leverage effects: if we use motivational structures to encourage users to behave in a desired way, the company’s benefit from the social media strategy will grow. If this is done software-based / automated in a comprehensive way, this activates the users of the social media reach and leads to a significant contribution to the company’s success. If participation and motivation are perfectly coordinated and cover the user reach extensively and permanently, the effect from this combination increases. If we were able to combine user participation and company benefits, the leverage has a direct impact on user benefits.

Charisma: visible motivation of users not only reaches the users themselves but also makes visible the recognition given to these users. This in turn motivates other users as well.

Risks lie in an arbitrary use of motivational methods and structures. If the motivation itself has no benefit for the user, if the user only understands it as a manipulation or if the form of the motivation does not correspond to the interests and behavior of the user, the motivation can quickly turn into its opposite.

Practice note
No motivation without convincing user benefits! Carefully examine the motivational structures and the benefits they should provide for the users to ensure that they correspond to the ideas and attitudes of your target groups.

Assumptions and requirements Strategy component

Typical assumptions and prerequisites of this strategy component lie in our idea about the use of motivation for the user and the attitudes of our users to the methods and structures we have chosen. Note the assumptions and premises on which the success of each motivational activity is based.

Interactions of the strategy component

In the practical application, we compare the contents of the respective strategy components that we examine for interactions and analyze them.

  • which mutual effects (interactions) result from the contents,
  • whether these effects support each other, i.e. the content of one strategy component positively influences the effect of the content of the other strategy component, or hinder or interfere with each other.
  • In the case of negative influence, we look for a solution that cancels this negative influence.


It would be perfect if we could not detect any negative interactions. If this is the case, I recommend first of all to perform this analysis again, because this is rather unlikely. If this assumption proves true once again, check how competitive the draft strategy actually is and how concretely the contents of the strategy components have been defined.

If we cannot correct negative interactions, the success of the draft strategy is questionable. The more important the strategy component that suffers from this negative interaction, the greater the threat to success.

Ultimately, it makes little sense to enter the competition with a handicapped or crippled strategy component when it comes to particularly important strategy components (user benefits, corporate benefits, usage formats). No one would seriously recommend participating in a Formula 1 race with a flat tire. Revise the draft strategy or shelve this approach if it is indeed clear that this problem cannot be solved. But be very meticulous with the decision here. Problems of this kind may also harbor competitive advantages that would otherwise be recklessly given up.

When troubleshooting, please note that the individual strategy components have different priorities among themselves.

  • Due to their importance, user benefits, usage formats and corporate benefits are the strategy components that set the tone or are of a defining nature.
  • Participation, motivation and communication are extremely relevant for success. It is through them that a significant part of the strategy’s competitiveness as well as its attractiveness is decided.
  • Reach, target groups, channels and competition are of course also indispensable strategy components, but they are shaped by the previously mentioned ones. User benefits, usage format, participation, motivation and communication define, for example, how successful reach can be built.

The strategy component thematic areas / topics and content has an overriding formative significance because it represents the market per se. We develop strategy designs for markets or parts of markets. The thematic areas thus define the playing field of the strategy, the content of which is shaped by the strategy components – with their varying priority.

Work templates – examples

The following is an example of working materials with the contents of the strategy component.

Strategy Component Motivation Work Template – Overview Content

Strategy Component Motivation Work Template – Overview Potentials

Strategy Component Motivation Work Template – Competitive Situation Overview

Strategy Component Motivation Work Template – Overview Functions and Resources

Strategy Component Motivation Work Template – Overview Requirements Between Strategy Components

Strategy Component Motivation Work Template – Overview Content Assumptions and Requirements

Strategy Component Motivation Work Template – Overview Interactions